It was our twentieth wedding anniversary and our Mediterranean cruise was set to take us along the French Rivièra. Art had been there before, but it was Patty’s first visit, and he wanted to make it special by taking her to a magical place he knew that she’d enjoy. His destination: Èze, a medieval hilltop town overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean, and more specifically Le Château de la chèvre d’or, a Relais and Chateaux property with a spectacular terrace boasting two Michelin stars.
Our young driver Caroline dropped us at the cobble-stoned entrance to the city where we’d begin our climb, on foot, to the top. We often walk through these destinations where the history oozes from the walls and ponder what life might have been like in the fourteenth century in a village that actually dates to 2000 BC! Sometimes it’s hard to summon the feeling, but not in Èze. Every step took us back another century to the fourteenth century when the first buildings that are still there today were built. At just over 1400 feet elevation, the hilltop village is crowned by an exotic garden that we visited before our lunch at the chateau.
That lunch began with the waiter asking us if we’d like to begin with champagne. But of course! So he wheeled over the champagne trolley and asked us which would be our pleasure. We chose, we drank (in their bespoke crystal champagne glasses with stems shaped like goats – in case you missed it, the French word chèvre means goat, and chèvre d’or means golden goat), we enjoyed, and we nearly swallowed our tongues when we realized at the end of our lunch that the two glasses of champagne had cost more than the rest of the lunch – including wine – all together. But we laughed. It was worth it for the experience.
So we savored every moment, thinking that we’d never return. We lived in the moment taking in all the sights, sounds and tastes. Then, our son moved to France at the age of 21. He moved to southern France. He moved to Beausoliel so he could work in Monaco. And we visited him. And we took him to Èze to experience the village. And to lunch.
Our experience the second and third times were just as magical, but we learned one very important lesson through this: make every travel moment count. Feel the experiences in the present moment and just really be there. Step away from looking at everything through your camera lens for a while and really make a point of remembering. It might just be the only time that you’ll have that experience. And it will stay with you to take out and think about any time you like in the future.
If you have five mnutes, come to Èze with us…
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